The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal was an emotional and beautifully written book. It tells the story of Mona, slipping backwards from the present day to the past. In the present day, Mona is about to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and this milestone has her thinking a lot about the past. She runs a business specialising in making dolls. She has friends and a good life, but there is sadness too from some tragedy in her past.
As a young girl, Mona grows up in Ireland, raised by her father after the untimely death of her mother. Like many young Irish people, she leaves Ireland for work, settling in Birmingham and meeting and falling in love with a young man named William. As the book goes back and forth between the past and present, you discover what happened between Mona and William and why Mona carries so much sadness around.
I won’t go into more plot details as I don’t want to spoil the book. The Trick to Time deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, but it does so in a sensitive way. It explores loss, grief, mental health, loneliness, love and more. It’s not all heaviness, there are a lot of light, funny moments. I loved the Irish characters! But there is a sadness to the character Mona. She’s been through a lot in her life and at sixty she is finally facing the past so she can find happiness again.
I loved the way this book was written. Kit De Waal has such a way with words. Such as this lovely paragraph:
“Love is like being on the swings at the park, pushed too high, and right at the top the metal ropes buckle and she floats, still and weightless before the links catch and she hurtles back down and then up, up, up again, floats for a moment and, swoosh, back down. That’s what William is like, the little time at the top when she is still and weightless, floating, her heart in her mouth.”
The Trick to Time is a literary book that doesn’t spell everything out. As a reader, I needed to read between the lines. Sometimes it’s not what the characters say but what they don’t say that moves the story. This was a simple, beautiful, story that really played on all my emotions. It was also longlisted for the women’s prize in fiction.
Verdict: I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting an emotional, well-written read.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK in exchange for an honest review.